A couple of podcasts this week have caught my attention. They expressed almost perfectly the internal struggle I’ve had for a number of years. While the views I heard would seem to say they are still “spiritually homeless”, I would say in my own life that is no longer true. Yet, I am thankful for these voices that speak out the internal struggles of my own life.Read more
One of the common mistakes we make in diagnosing current times is “how things are going.” If things are going reasonable “well” for us, we can’t see what might wrong beneath the surface, or care to explore that beneath the surface.
In the U.S., we can say, “Hey, the economy is humming along (for us saying it, of course), so what could possibly be wrong?”
Spiritually, we can say, “Look at our church! It’s growing! We bring in awesome speakers and have a great band!”
For us, all can seem “well”… and we can be blind. This is Israel’s case in Isaiah (and in many of the other prophetic books). Prophetic words calling “doom” on Israel didn’t always come in “down” economic times. They often came in GOOD economic times.
So, when Isaiah comes along preaching hypocrisy, they’re looking at him and asking, “What are you smoking?”
We, today in the American Church, are struggling. We may see verses from Isaiah and put them out there with the thought of, “Well, that’s for the OTHER part of the church!” (It can be a “liberal” Christian putting it out and digging at the “conservatives” or vice versa.)
Here is the problem: these words are for the AMERICAN church. Not just one segment. Friends, WE are in trouble… and are still struggling with spiritual blindness.
20 Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and clever in their own sight. (Isa. 5:20-21, NIV)
Maybe one day this will become a reality to us!Read more
In my spiritual journey toward the Anglican Church, I have had for years a hunger for a better theology of the Church (ecclesiology). I tried to bring that emphasis into my ministry context as I was learning, but the overall structure I was in simply didn’t aid to that emphasis. I served in a denomination that was incredibly poor in their ecclesiology and that was a counter-weight I couldn’t overcome.Read more
“Evangelicals have often been presented with a false choice about our role in public life. We either completely withdraw from trying to influence things, or we initiate ‘takeover’ programs. There is an alternative pattern, thought, one that I believe is mandated by Scripture: in the present time, where the fullness of Christ’s kingdom is not yet with us, we are called to do what we can in the political realm, given the opportunities and abilities that God has provided for us in the places where the Lord calls us to be faithful.” — Richard Mouw, Restless Faith: Holding Evangelical Beliefs in a World of Contested Labels
Over 20 years ago I was not in ministry and trying to figure out what life would be like if I never was in ministry again. I was still young enough to carve out something new, so I was reading a lot on “leadership” and “life goals”, etc.Read more
“It’s not enough to be in relationship. White and black people have a long history of relationship. For healing to begin, we must learn to listen with our hearts.” — Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from the Slaveholder ReligionRead more
This year has been spent in a cycle of spiritual rest and exploration. That cycle has taken us some interesting places. The big takeaway is a shift away from what I’ve known my whole life in one movement to step into another movement within the Body of Christ. For those interested, I write at some length about it HERE.
It would be great to have conversations over this for anyone having questions.
I am reading back through Ezekiel these days, asking the Lord about “imagination.”
As I read through the early part of Ezekiel again, I am struck by Ezekiel’s call. I also think of Jeremiah’s call. They were to warn clearly regardless of the response. If they didn’t give the warning, God would hold them (the prophets) accountable. In an era where church leaders are consumed with response, this is just offensive. Read more
“I pastored a Southern Baptist church in southern Missouri, and there some people in that church whose whole identity, I think, was tied to a self-righteous image. I discovered quickly I couldn’t change things when folks were determined not to change. In time, though, I realized that all around the church was a sea of dying people. I made friends outside the church and found plenty of people who were receptive to me.” — Dallas Willard in Becoming Dallas Willard by Gary Moon